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2009 Chrysler Imperial

The Chrysler Imperial revives a much-abused nameplate from the automaker's past. Built on a stretched Chrysler 300 platform, the Imperial is, of course, Hemi V-8 powered and rear-wheel drive. But the chassis tuning prioritizes ride comfort over handling. Not only is the Imperial nearly a foot and a half longer than the 300, but it's six inches taller as well, for a more upright seating package and greater interior space. The suicide doors and the shape of the side window opening are both a rather blatant ripoff of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. More than a mere flight of fancy, we expect that if the Imperial doesn't elicit too much giggling, Chrysler will add a full-luxury range topper like this to its lineup. Priced in the low $40,000 range, it would go up against the Cadillac DTS and Lincoln Town Car--and to try and extend Chrysler's celebrity cred beyond the 300C if it is ever approved for production, which would probably be in 2009.